Comments from seasoned eBay sellers who are frustrated with higher fees and security risks reveal that an eBay alternative is on the minds of many.
Some of these sellers are switching to other marketplaces in hopes buyers will follow.
In response, developers have built alternative online auction sites to fulfill the growing need for an affordable marketplace. One such place is Webstore.com, a platform recently ranked second—just behind eBay—by TopTenReviews.com for online auction sites.
Here’s a snapshot of this eBay alternative that’s vying for the No.1 spot.
Webstore began in 2007 after the founders were concerned with increasing fees and security risks from other online auction sites, says Mike Snyder, Webstore’s customer service manager.Webstore “is one of the only [auction sites] we reviewed that offers the ability to buy and sell online without paying user fees”
As a result, they created the platform to be completely free to its users, with the exception of payment processing fees, which are unavoidable.
The marketplace makes up the revenue by placing ads on its pages. This is something even eBay does, though it also charges fees to its members.
Webstore “is one of the only [auction sites] we reviewed that offers the ability to buy and sell online without paying user fees,” reviewers at TopTenReviews say.
The eBay alternative includes a lot of features similar other online auction sites. Registration is easy and, as with any site, getting familiar with the terrain takes just a little browsing and testing. Plus, you can set up a virtual store on the marketplace at no cost.
From the home page, you can browse for current auctions by category or by doing a search for something more specific. If you want to research items that have been sold, you must first be a member to access this function, Snyder says.
Listing an item for sale is pretty straightforward, especially if you’re accustomed to listing on auction sites similar to eBay. You can upload up to four images and set auction, buy it now and reserve prices, plus add the option for buyers to make offers. Webstore offers a video tutorial to make listing easy, or refer to the “Help” links for more information.
While Webstore offers feedback services for its members and rewards its Top Rated Sellers, the marketplace charges a $10 optional fee to verify your identity. The idea behind this is that it increases your reliability as a buyer and seller. It also qualifies you to become a Top Rated Seller.Webstore reports it has been seeing an influx of new members. Snyder contributes part of this to TopTenReviews, in addition to increasing eBay fees and the closure of other platforms
“Our Top Rated Seller’s program highlights sellers who have met our strict minimum requirements such as 95 percent positive ratings from a large variety of unique buyers,” Snyder says. “These sellers are featured on our site, as well as in other forms of marketing and social media.”
An evolving marketplace
Webstore reports it has been seeing an influx of new members recently. Snyder contributes part of this to TopTenReviews, in addition to increasing eBay fees and the closure of other platforms, like Yardsellr.
With more than 130,000 registered members and 900,000 active auctions in more than 13,000 categories, the marketplace receives a fair share of community activity. As its popularity rises, Webstore modifies its standards and adds features to improve member satisfaction.
“We are always trying to make Webstore.com better for both buyers and sellers, and many of the new features we implement on the site are based solely on feedback from our members,” Snyder adds.
Some of the new features developed in the past year based on customer feedback include the ability to sort items by bids or by number of watchers, and the ability to quickly edit quantities and prices in a listing, he says. Webstore also added some new categories based on member suggestions, including an extensive Disneyana category in the collectibles section.
‘Open to creating new categories’
Snyder reports the collectibles category is one of the more popular sections on the site. The eBay alternative also has high sales in the coins, crafts, jewelry and clothing sections.“The best part about Webstore for new sellers is that we are very open to creating new categories to help make it easier for items to be seen”
But the platform prides itself on being able to evolve to meet their members’ needs, Snyder adds. In the early days, Webstore started with only a few categories to help the community, but the marketplace expanded, and so did the number of categories.
“The best part about Webstore for new sellers is that we are very open to creating new categories to help make it easier for items to be seen,” Snyder notes.
And regardless of what the community sells, Webstore is ready to help its members sell everything from vintage to brand new gadgets, and everything in between.
As new members come to Webstore, the ability to garner more advertisers increases, which, again, is the foundation that allows the marketplace to remain fee-free to its sellers. Webstore also launched an “aggressive marketing campaign” to help spread the word about the marketplace.
“However, as a free site, our best weapon in this war is simply word-of-mouth,” Snyder adds.
Site ready to be No. 1
“Too often in today’s ecommerce world you are sent on a wild goose chase of FAQs looking for the answer you need,” Snyder continues.“There comes a time when No. 1 fades and No. 2 steps up to take over. Webstore is ready for that day to come”
But Webstore is different from more popular auction sites, not only because it’s fee-free, but because it can provide more individualized customer support, he says.
For any online auction site competing against the eBay giant, it’s a tricky catch-22. All the right benefits may outweigh eBay, but getting the fanfare and keeping the buyers interested requires perhaps a lot of marketing and a slow simmer of time.
Snyder thinks Webstore’s time is near. He compares it to the football analogy that everyone’s favorite player is the backup quarterback. And Webstore is that backup quarterback, he says.
As other auction sites raise prices and add new fees, sellers will look elsewhere for a new platform. Now that TopTenReviews has placed Webstore in second place behind eBay and other marketplaces are closing shop, Webstore is warmed up for the game.
“There comes a time when No. 1 fades and No. 2 steps up to take over,” Snyder says. “Webstore is ready for that day to come.”